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Dear God

Sure, it appears that I’ve lost faith. But, for far too long I dutifully prayed for this or that. As a kid I learned the lesson about not praying for superficial things such as a new bike, but I did pray for a family. Didn’t get it. As an adult I knew the lesson well enough to not pray for a lottery win, but I did pray for everlasting love. Didn’t get it.

I learned to not pray for silly things, but only for things that cause a greater good. I gave money away, I volunteered, went to church alone as an adult,  made sure (over arguments) that my children received the sacraments, and I doted over children who were being ignored. When I prayed it was for something meaningful such as a marriage that lasted forever, someone who would be there ‘for better or for worse’, for extended time with my children, for a meaningful position, for a chance at better education, for a way to save the only home I’ve ever lived in and for an end to icy loneliness. Didn’t get it.

I carried a set of rosary beads in my pocket for months and prayed on the way to work. I had long conversations with the Man. I read the Bible. I watched religious shows.

And now, finally, I get it – I won’t get it.

As John Lennon said There ain’t no Jesus gonna come from the sky, now that I found out I know I can cry. For me that means that though I have experienced exquisite emotional pain and damaging, altering bitterness as a result, there’s no such thing as something divine that sees and acts on those in blistering trouble.

God, maybe only for me, has been relegated to the folklore of the ancients along with Juno, Ra, Zeus, Fu-Hsing, Airmid, Great Spirit, Givinda and Vishnu. The god I followed has helped me just as much as Thor has.

There is no God. Only me. Me and you.

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The Amount Of Time – Turned

It’s mainly about grasping the gift.

Before I even turn the knob and open the door inward, before I pull the key out of the lock I have a smile that tightens my face. Stepping in I take note of the pugnent apple and cinnamon candle scent that remains still alive, drifting lazily throughout the apartment. She had brought it over with a red bow tied around its girth and placed it center on the table and lit it right away. Tonight there was a note leaning against it, a folded sheet of expensive parchment that when spread open announced “This weekend can’t come soon enough”.

The warm, illuminating lamp light revealed the scores of changes, many of them subtle, that she has made since we’ve been dating. Irregularly spaced framed photographs have been replaced or rehung in new locations in order to mix tastefully along with new artful prints, and a newly installed corner shelf holds an African Violet that she had saved, newly budded with red points and a tender, new ivy plant, its vines full and cascading. Bright and boldly ornate contemporary throw pillows have been strategically placed on the sofa, love seat and chair giving them a new look and a quick glance make them appear not my own.

The windows are graced with thin, white horizontal poles, newly installed also, upon which hang differing lengths of shepards canes that hold plants of all colors – some I had never seen before, a new rug centered and fixed attention to the living room with its red and light brown pattern and a green wire room divider had been chosen for the wide space of white, near the door, and had a leaf pattern that now hold additional hanging pictures, in framed lockets, of my children.

It had taken some getting used to, the orderly yet comfortable ambiance that had taken hold here. The new and inexpensive backsplash gazing from the stove, the countertop that was converted from a catch-all to a colorful and functional area of culinary inspiration, the bed was given additional height by the twelve inch posts put under each of its four corners, the shiny and satiny feel of six hundred thread sheets made me feel more comfortable with the fact that they were a shade of deep, heart red, and the wide-eyed astonishment that I first had as she laced and looped the multiple tails of a vividly adorned kite (of all things imaginable) between drop-ceiling tiles, was replaced with excitement and contentment at being led out of my stulted knowledge of decor as she tied tiny strings to the body, which let it hang and float just inches from their anchor.

The note, still held in hand, had a post script. It said “Turn on the TV and play the video”. I noticed that the disk player was open and a disk placed into it was labeled in black marker “Play Me”. I sat on the couch, the middle cushion, the one with the most comforting give to my frame, and with the remote control, pressed ‘Play’. She had turned the recorder to herself and I could tell from what she wore that it was recorded the night before. I could hear water sizzling in the background and knew that it was recorded while I was in the shower. She was giggling as she spoke.

“I want to tell you that I am so happy that we’ve met. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve laughed so hard and for that alone, I thank you. I find myself thinking about you all the time now – at work and at home. I guess that I simply want to tell you how much you mean to me and that I’m glad that we have each other. And I’m looking forward to seeing you this weekend. Bye!”

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Whole Lotta Shakin’/What’s It All About

The title of this post reflects what’s been happening within my supernova lately. It’s been consumed with new, and yes, exciting events along with the moments of self-doubt that inevitably stealthily creep back up much like that nasty vine that makes a perennial appearance year after year in the garden.

Yeah I said come on over baby,
a-whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
Well we ain’t fakin’,
a-whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Let’s do this in paragraph bursts:
Work has been fulfilling and rewarding. Let’s face it, having a job that’s in your chosen field is bliss anyway. The way that I’ve broken down my position into rapidly consumable pieces in order to be highly productive has not gone unnoticed by my peers. When they see my daily blueprint of shorthand detailing every aspect of how I will get through my shift they are amazed at the detail and how efficient I am. And they used to wonder at how I’m usually the first one ready to be relieved at the end of the shift! I, in turn, am happy to be with peers who constantly teach, are social, have a tendency to ask each other if they need help, are professional and who also enjoy good natured ribbing and laughing every so often as a way to keep a normally very stressful job  pocketed with needed moments of levity and a reason to smile.

School, more specifically, my class, began last week! I’m not sure if anyone appreciates going back to school more than an adult who wants it enough to sacrifice what they love in order to be there. The joy of opening my new book package after I found my seat in class was a joy that could have brought me to tears. This past weekend I located a book bag – complete with buckles and zippered compartments for holding pens, markers, notepad, calculator and other accroutremonts and caught myself in the mirror looking much as a child rehearsing getting ready for their first day of junior high! The professor is engaging, highly knowledgeable, humorous, uses many, many mnemonics as a tool for memory retention and insists on the highest standards. I’ve invested hours of book/study time this past week and feel confident that I’ve made the most of my time in preparation for our first quiz on Wednesday. Hey world, I made it to school!

Reacquainted girlfriend and I haven’t seen much of each other since we rounded up the kids a few Sunday’s ago. My later in the day schedule starts even before she is through for the day. We’ve had the few times a week phone conversations, but getting together is just impossible due to the conflicting hours we both work.

So, here’s a guy who vehemently tossed out such words of anger and spite at God only a short while ago, who now makes time on the daily work commute to recite the rosary. Those of you who know me – actually, none of you do, would never even take a stab at believing that I would do something of this nature. Clutching a rosary and reciting prayers in a car on the way to work? But, you know what? It works for me and I liken it to anyone else out there who anonymously recites a prayer of any type, of any religion or belief, during any given moment of any given day. I figure that I’ve a lot to be thankful for (even amidst my chaos and exploding upheaval) and once more I’ll state that I enjoy the routine. I need more order, and less entropy.

I’ve been realizing that I enjoy keeping a (almost) daily log of what I’ve accomplished day to day. I still use my notebook for the checklist that I depend on, and once crossed off the checklist I add the line to a spreadsheet detailing what’s been done. It’s a sense of achievement and execution of thought into action that I feel thrilled with. To add a new line is smile provoking. To glance at past days in spreadsheet style is warming to my ego.

On the other hand …

More, after the Break

Forgiving Myself

As I’ve ushered in the new year with big hopes and big promises to myself, even at this early juncture of 2011 I find that I’m falling short. Take yesterday for example.

It was a day off from work and I had a list to go through and checks to mark next to the completed tasks.  Well, I ended up sleeping late and never did get through the groggy head that followed after I woke up. I began to feel lazy. I did in fact look extensively online for a discounted price for my course that begins next week, but that was pretty much the end of being productive for the day. I glanced as the clock marked half-hours and then hours while they slipped away. I actually noticed more  after each of the movies I watched all day in succession on Netflix.

We had a big snowstorm in my part of the Northeast yesterday and the one time I made it outside of my apartment, was to dig myself out so that the apartment building plow could scrape the snow into mounds and reveal the parking spaces. But that was it for the day in terms of accomplishments – movies and snow removal.

I’ve heard for most of my life, and also to my amazement and astonishment here in the comments section, that I’m too hard on myself. As to that, I’ve always felt that could have, and should be doing more.

As we all know, staying focused and motivated is a job in itself, and it’s a job that I’ve constantly found particularly difficult to stay on top of. It can be a dangerous line that separates a ‘down day to recharge‘ and a day of slothfulness. And it’s a slippery slope and a habit hard to break that would rationalize being just plain lazy as a need to slow down a bit.

But now, maybe, I’m finally learning the lesson. As I woke up this morning full of zeal and passion – albeit due to deadlines of differing needs, I’m not chastising myself for yesterday’s lack of continued momentum. As long as the time off does not lead to a prolonged drought of robust spitfire, it’s alright to ease the self-imposed restrictions on time management that I’ve place myself into.

I forgive myself.

And, forgiving myself is just as rewarding, and helps ease my conscience, as fully as if I had asked, and received, forgiveness from someone else for easing my restrictions on them.

What about you? Do your self-imposed restrictions seem too rigid at times and do you tear yourself up when you feel you haven’t committed to, or fulfilled, those restrictions? Do you take scheduled, or unscheduled, time off?

Do you find it hard to forgive yourself? 

… Planting Seeds

I’ve been experiencing the results of specific plans being laid out within the past few months. And though they’ve been laughably knee jerk, or altogether not specifically sparked by intelligent forethought, or driven by step by step strategy, they’ve somehow borne fruit. And it’s taught me a valuable lesson.

I had applied for a position at a building where I sometimes fill in as a pool per diem. I’ve been going there for years and where I have unknowingly built up quite a peer admiration society I’ve found out. When I went there a few weeks ago to fill in, I asked those around me, those who admired my work ethic and knowledge, if there were any positions open and they quickly said that there were. Well, unknown to them, when I went back the next working day to ask the supervisor, she loved me and my resume, but had just hired two new staff members. Damn!

A few days ago I went back for a scheduled per diem shift and it was during my shift that an employee went to the supervisor and spoke of needing time off. The supervisor called me into her office, told me of the circumstances (and that she had to let that employee go due to too much time being taken off) and offered me the position! It was a whirlwind because …

I had been tendered an offer at the facility where reacquainted girlfriend works! All I was waiting for was a call from them as to when they could fit me into their orientation. It was a done deal. At the same time …

I have been at the tail end of another orientation as a per diem employee only. Orientation out of the classroom and now onto the floor was deflating to put it kindly. Never had I been in a building where so much negativity about the building and the staff flowed so freely. It was disheartening, but a building where I could get a check every once in a while. It almost physically hurt to be there.

However, all bets were off when I received an offer at the building I wanted to be in. It was a rush of good feelings – stability, working at a facility that was clean, efficient, professional, fosters team-work as more than a word game, and most importantly, it’s where I want to be!

Yesterday I called the supervisor where reacquainted girlfriend works and politely and professionally thanked them for their interest but I had received another offer that I was accepting. I then called the facility where I was on floor orientation and did the same. I later learned from reacquatinted girlfriend that her supervisor was very disappointed because she really wanted someone of my caliber to come aboard as inspiration. She said that “we lost a big one“. I then called the floor orientation building (confused? maybe I should have used building #1 and building #2) and relayed the same information to them. They were a bit more peeved. I sense that they knew my worth, but on the other hand, I was only per diem (which may only come about every month or so) and was low-balled on pay. They acted on the phone as if I were abandoning their burning ship and came off kind of righteous. But, I remained committed to staying professional and courteous and thanked them for the opportunity and that they had taught me a few things  didn’t know, so I appreciated the time with them.

Let me also add that I was contacted yesterday by yet another facility, who in the voice mail said that they ‘were very excited about my resume and were very interested in setting up an interview‘!

More, after the Break

The Only One Holding Me Back …

… is me.

I heard that on of all things, a TV show the other night and it will not let go of my mind.

You know, I’ve read most likely dozens of popular self-help books over the years and they all seem to melt into one or two globs of true wisdom:

  1. Get off your ass in one form or another
  2. Make it happen, no one else will

So, guess what? I’ve been formulating and developing a new attitude these last few days.

I’ve had my required grieving period and I’m all out of tears. I’ve spouted to anyone that would listen and I’ve nothing new to add. I’ve talked and imprinted onto myself what a lousy situation I’m in and nothing’s changed. And you know, after hearing from others (and myself) that ‘things happen for a reason’, why can’t I reinvent myself?

Really, why not?

So, dangerously out in uncharted territory, I’m taking wresting back control of my will, swearing at my lost opportunities and shouting out that I can forge into an area that I’ve previously underutilized – my own determination to make things happen.

Focus areas that I’ve found are most important to me:

More, after the Break

Temp Help

Well, that about says it all.

After the devastation of not being tendered an offer after my second interview last week, I was in an orientation class for three days. It’s an orientation that will only lead to a per diem job and who knows just how many shifts I’ll pick up? It’s not full-time or even part-time, so no benefits and I’m still in the same position.

This morning I received a call to fill in a call out. Temp help. I must take it. I must take anything I can at all.

And so, Christmas looms large. No tree, no presents, no cheer. But my children – they’re so young! How can I decide between presents for them and rent?

God help me.

I dreamed of my ex last night.

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